"Call it public diplomacy. Call it public affairs. Call it public relations. Call it fuck all, I don’t care. It’s all the same shit and these penny-ante fights government gets into over who owns influence planning and execution are mere dick measuring exercises to protect budgets and retain standing within our own ranks."
--DU4, in blog entry noting that he is "honored" to be invited to speak on public diplomacy at American University; image from
Public Diplomacy for AWESOME People… the Du4 Way! - Du4, mustbeawesome.com: "I have a love-hate relationship with public diplomacy. Coming from a background in the Department of Defense, I did not understand the peculiar delineation between PD and other forms of government communication and influence until my own graduate work at Johns Hopkins. Upon discovering the very simple definition that PD involves a government’s communications directly to foreign governments’ citizens (and thus bypassing that foreign government), I became instantly enamored of the idea. After all, in DOD, when you 'communicate' with a foreign population, you’re usually dropping a bunch of comic strips from the sky written so badly that the recipients think all Americans really are retarded. ... [A]side from all the other problems in the U.S. national security apparatus, PD practitioners have been almost historically kicked in the ass
by said interagency apparatus. Since the U.S. Information Agency – the premier public diplomacy institution of the Cold War – was folded up into the State Department by the Clinton Administration, PD has been regarded as a largely unnecessary, unneeded career field. ... If any of us PD 'professionals' had a whit about us, we would (re)read Unrestricted Warfare by Senior Col Qiao Liang and Senior Col Wang Xiangsui and understand that global communication, global influence, requires the strategic, national integration of ALL government branches and agencies and their communications initiatives. It requires, to borrow an analogy, for America to conduct herself as a composer would an orchestra, creating multitudes of musical movements that all combine into one big, beautiful symphony." Image from
US international broadcasting entities "send pro-American messages." Forsooth - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "Wired Danger Room, 15 Feb 2011, Spencer Ackerman: '[T]he Broadcasting Broad of Governors, which oversees the government-owned media organizations that send pro-American messages to foreign audiences, has begun using social media to go around online restrictions in repressive countries.' [Elliott comment:] 'Pro-American messages'?
No wonder VOA and the other entities of US international broadcasting have identity problems. The entities of US international broadcasting transmit reliable news, not 'pro-American messages.' The observer might ask, 'Why not? After all, VOA, RFE/RL, RFA, Alhurra, Sawa, and the Martís are funded by the US government.' The response would be: because the audience is not seeking messages that are pro- or anti- anything. They want news that is more balanced, objective, and credible than they get from their state-controlled domestic media, so they can make up their own minds about current events. The observer follows up: 'If that's what we're broadcasting, what's in it for us?' The response: 1) This is what we have to broadcast if we want to have an audience, i.e., not to be a waste of the taxpayers' money. 2) Well-informed audiences are bolstered against the misinformation and disinformation of dictators, terrorist, and other miscreants. 3) If the policies of the United States are wise and virtuous, the truth, in the long run, will be on our side. By this time the observer has lost interest and is looking at his mobile phone, reading a tweet about an entirely different subject." Image from
Iran militia claims credit for VOA cyberstrike - Bill Gertz, Washington Times: "An Iranian government official on Tuesday claimed the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps was behind a recent computer attack that disrupted Voice of America Internet programming. Iran‘s state-controlled Press TV quoted an IRGC official, Ali Saeedi Shahroodi, as saying the cyber-attack was the work of the Corps, the Iranian Islamic regime’s shock troops. ... Visitors to the VOA home page and up to 95 other VOA-related websites were redirected to a page with an Iranian flag and a graphic of an AK-47 rifle. The cyber-attack began Monday and lasted until early Tuesday morning, when service was restored."
Joint press conference following 10th EU-Israel Association Council meeting - mfa.gov.il: "Janos Martonyi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary: "Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Let me just briefly inform you that we have just had a useful and productive exchange of views with Foreign Minister Liberman. ... Israel Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman: Thank you very much, Your Excellencies, the Chairman of the Presidency, Commissioner. First of all, I would like to express my appreciation of a very friendly atmosphere during our meetings, and of course my appreciation of your readiness to move quickly on a bilateral level between Israel and the EU. Personally, I attach a great significance to our bilateral relations because the EU is our biggest commercial partner and, for us, as for our public diplomacy people to people, it's also the same - our main partner."
Google Street View Entering Israel, Despite Security Concerns: Some fear that terrorists could use information in the mapping service to carry out attacks, while others believe it could enhance the nation's tourism industry - Alison Diana, informationweek.com: "Google has long-battled concerns that its Street View offering infringes on individual privacy, but the mapping service's expansion into Israel is sparking concerns that terrorists could use the detailed information to carry out attacks, endangering the public and government officials. ... 'Street View
could be very useful in public spaces, parks, museums, hotels, and places of historical, cultural, and religious interest. It could significantly help tourism. A Street View of the old city in particular could prove very popular,' wrote Andre Oboler, director of the Community Internet Engagement Project at the Zionist Federation of Australia . ... 'What data could be collected in Israel, and how might this harm Israel? Both public diplomacy and security considerations need to be considered. How might this data be used against Israel's interests, particularly if it is stored in the U.S. and subject to U.S. government control rather than Israeli control? Keeping the data solely in Israel would be a significant development,' wrote Oboler." Image from
Demand for Birthright-Taglit hits new high in N. America - Gil Shefler, Jerusalem Post: "A record-breaking number of North American applicants signed up to take part in Birthright-Taglit this year, according to data released by the organization on Wednesday. The program, which brings young Jewish adults from the Diaspora to Israel on free, 10-day educational tours of the country, said it received 40,108 applications
during the seven-day registration period which ended on Tuesday. Calling it 'the most successful project in the Jewish world,' Israel’s Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein, who serves as chairman of Birthright-Taglit’s steering committee, hailed the new application figures. 'We see Taglit-Birthright Israel turning into a real rite of passage for a majority of young Jews worldwide and we hope many more thousands will come to Israel.'” Image from article
India: A Great Soft Power - Abhay K, Newswire – CPD Blog, University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy: "Indian soft power is rooted in ancient Indian culture and tradition.
With its vision of Vasudhaiv Kutumbhkam (the whole world is a family) and great soft power assets India could easily be an example for the whole planet in the twenty-first century." Image from
Qorvis Announces Appointment of New Partners - PRNewswire-USNewswire: "Qorvis Communications, LLC, Washington's largest independent agency [sic], today announced the addition of four new partners: government and corporate communications strategist Gregory Lagana; Republican communications specialist John Reid; former Washington Times Editor Sam Dealey; and Dr. Ron Faucheux, who is being elevated to partner while retaining his position as President of Clarus Research Group, a Qorvis Company. ... Greg Lagana:
Lagana was formerly senior vice-president for communications and marketing at DynCorp International, a major services provider for the United States government. Prior to which, he spent four years in the Bush (43) White House, as a member of the Coalition Information Center staff and then as associate director of the Office of Global Communications. For more than two decades, Lagana served in the U.S. Foreign Service in public diplomacy and public affairs with the United States Information Agency and the Department of State." Lagana image from
Brown bag lunch with Eric Hirschhorn, Under Secretary for the Bureau of Industry and Security, Mar. 3 - itstimeforbusiness.com: "President Barack Obama appointed Eric Hirschhorn to be the Under Secretary for Industry and Security, heading the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), on March 29, 2010. ... As a member of President Jimmy Carter’s reorganization project staff (1977-80),
he worked on reorganizing the government’s international trade, public diplomacy, and foreign assistance mechanisms."
Summer Internship at the JICC, Embassy of Japan - UW Political Science Advising Newsletter: "Internship Opportunity The Japan Information & Culture Center (JICC), Embassy of Japan
seeks unpaid, part- to full-time interns (12-35hrs/week) for the Summer 2011 term. Internship start/end dates and hours are customized with the academic schedule of the chosen candidate. However, start and end dates must fall within a week or so of early June and late August. The JICC is the cultural and public affairs section of the Embassy of Japan in Washington D.C. Our primary role is to promote better understanding of Japan and Japanese culture by providing a wide range of information, educational services, and programs to the public. We strive to build bridges between cultures through various activities, such as film screenings, art exhibitions, an online newsletter, and school programs. The JICC is the gateway to connect the American public to Japan and the interns are an integral part of our efforts. Qualifications: Studies: v Enrolled in a four-year degree program and have at least two years of undergraduate study completed. Graduate students may also apply. v Major in International Studies, Japanese Studies, Asian American Studies, Public Diplomacy, Political Science, or a related field." Embassy of Japan in Washington D.C. image from
From Cairo to Madison, some pizza - politico.com: Someone in Egypt has been paying attention to what’s happening in Madison and wanted to send a message of solidarity from across the globe — so they ordered a pizza.
It might seem like a small gesture, but it’s overwhelming to the staff at Ian’s on State Street — a campus staple mere blocks from the Capitol — where in the last few days, they’ve fielded calls from concerned citizens of 14 countries, and all 50 states and the District of Columbia looking to donate money to provide free pizza to the Wisconsinites who have congregated here. Image from article, with caption: People from across the world have donated to provide free pizza to protesting Wisconsinites
If Not Now, When? - Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: For the last 50 years, America (and Europe and Asia) have treated the Middle East as if it were just a collection of big gas stations. Seeing the Arab democracy movements in Egypt and elsewhere succeed in modernizing their countries would be hugely beneficial to them and to the world. We must do whatever we can to help. But no one should have any illusions about how difficult and convulsive the Arabs’ return to history is going to be. Let’s root for it, without being in the middle of it.
Obama's moment in the Middle East - and at home - William Kristol, Washington Post: What has been strikingly lacking in the Obama administration's response is a sense of the possibility of the moment, a commitment to doing our best to bring that possibility to fruition, a realization that this may be an important inflection point in world history that should shake us out of business as usual. This means more than speeches - though speaking out would be a start. It means aggressive
efforts, covert and overt, direct and indirect, to help the liberals - in the old sense of the word - in the Middle East. It means considering the use of force when force is used to kill innocent civilians. It means a full-scale engagement of the U.S. government, an across-the-board effort with allies and international organizations, a real focus on the challenge these times present. Image from
Turtle Bay to the Rescue: The Obama Administration's response to the Libya crisis is another UN resolution - Review & Outlook, Wall Street Journal: Mr. Obama flubbed his first opportunity to stand up to tyranny after Iran's fraudulent elections in 2009. Let's hope the Libyan people don't pay a terrible price while the U.S. and its "partners" at the U.N. dither over the text of a toothless resolution.
Uzbekistan: Rock and rap music denounced as ‘evil’ - freemuse.org: Uzbekistan’s state television issued an unequivocal denunciation of rock and rap music as a Western liberal excess, saying the music was epitomized by sadism, drug addiction and immorality, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP) on 21 February 2011.
AFP reported that a tv documentary made in the style of a Soviet propaganda film said that “rock music originated from African hunting rituals”, that “rap was originated by inmates in prisons – that’s why rap singers wear wide and long trousers,” and that “This satanic music was created by evil forces to bring youth in Western countries to total moral degradation.” “Be aware of the satanic effects of this evil music,” the narrator warned in the tv programme. 90 percent of the 28 million inhabitants of Uzbekistan are Muslim. Image from article
In Face of Middle East Unrest, Chinese Communist Party Closes Ranks: Controls over Party, police, society, and Internet strengthened - Matthew Robertson, Epoch Times: The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has seen Jasmine Revolution-type protests sweeping the Middle East, and it is afraid. Over the past two weeks the CCP has reasserted its control over the military and public security apparatus; organized study sessions;
strengthened Internet and social controls; promoted and rewarded members of the people’s armed police; called together leading cadres for public forums to emphasize the importance of “social management,” and strengthened Party organizations at all levels. At the center of this blitz of activity is a secret meeting held by the Politburo on Feb. 12—the committee that sits atop the Chinese Communist Party—to discuss the threats posed by the “Jasmine Revolution” in the Middle East. Longtime China analyst Perry Link obtained news about this meeting, which he publicized in the New York Review of Books. The main purpose was to come up with strategies to make sure the wave of demands for democracy in the Middle East would not occur in China. The primary emphasis was on propaganda, and the Central Propaganda Department was called on to effect a rash of controls. See also. Image from article
China's New Search Engine Offers Even More Propaganda for User Enlightenment - Amar Toor, switched.com: The Xinhua News Agency, the Chinese government's largest news service, has launched its own search engine, providing China's 450 million Web users with even more party propaganda. The search engine, called Panguso, was created in partnership with government-owned China Mobile -- the world's largest mobile operator with over 550 million customers. In combining Xinhua's news with China Mobile's vast user base, officials are hoping to create a platform strong enough to challenge Baidu, which currently dominates the country's search engine market. "We would like to fully exploit the advantage of Xinhua as an official agency having a large collection of news and information, and that of China Mobile in terms of technology, advanced operation principles and strong infrastructure," Xinhua president Li Congjun said in a statement. Formidable as the joint venture may seem, analysts aren't sure that Panguso will be able to offer much of a challenge to Baidu, which currently commands about 75-percent of China's online search market. Google is still in a distant second-place, with about 19-percent market share, but its business on the mainland has suffered ever since the company butted heads with Chinese authorities last year.
Iran: Israel Outraged by Warships' Passage through Suez Canal - english.cri.cn: A senior Iranian army commander said Israel has been outraged by the passage of two Iranian warships through the Suez Canal and spreads propaganda over the issue, the local satellite Press TV reported on Wednesday. "The Zionist regime (of Israel) was shocked by the presence of Iran's naval ships in the Suez Canal and this is the reason why the regime has made propaganda in this regard over recent days," Iran's Deputy Army Commander Brigadier General Abdul-Rahim Mousavi was quoted as saying.
'Views and Re-Views: Soviet Political Posters and Cartoons,' at the William Benton Museum in Storrs - Alan Bisbort, hartfordadvocate.com: In a now famous essay about Charles Dickens, George Orwell wrote, “All art is propaganda” but then added, “On the other hand, not all propaganda is art.” That is, all art has some purpose — some “message” — beyond its surface ink, paper, paint, marble, celluloid, vinyl. Work that is all “message,” on the other hand, does not cut art’s mustard. Orwell’s words echo through the Benton Art Museum’s Evelyn Simon Gilman Gallery (on the UConn-Storrs campus)
in Views and Re-Views: Soviet Political Posters and Cartoons, an exciting exhibit up until March 20. Because the Soviet Union enlisted the help of visual artists to manipulate the emotions of the masses, their work was, on the surface, all “message.” However, the talent of the artists — steeped in the Russian avant garde and other currents flowing through Europe (including dada, symbolism, futurism) — was prodigious, and in the earliest days of the Russian Revolution their work was pure energy and optimism. They were true believers, at least until the clampdown of Josef Stalin. Image from article: Kukrynisky’s 1942 anti-Hitler poster
The Ukrainian trilogy: Earth, Zvenigora, Arsenal - Yuri Prasad, socialistworker.co.uk: Revolutions do more than smash the old order, they transform culture and change the way we look at the world. Nowhere was this truer than in Russia after 1917. In the years after the revolution, avant-garde artists put their skills to producing everything from propaganda posters to sculpture and opera—all celebrating the new possibilities. The revolution particularly flourished in film. Alexander Dovzhenko was a poet and artist from the Ukraine, which became part of the new Soviet republic. Alongside directors like Sergei Eisenstein,
Dovzhenko is an early master of Soviet cinema.War and revolution form the backdrop to his silent Ukrainian trilogy. Completed in 1929, the way they were filmed—and in particular, the way they were edited—were as exciting and new as the era they were made in. Arsenal is the most powerful of the three. In it, Tymish, a disenchanted soldier, returns to Kiev from the trenches of the First World War. He was witnessed senseless barbarity at very close quarters. Dovzhenko’s depiction of a poison gas attack is particularly harrowing. Image from article: Tymish in Arsenal
"What follows is my list of today’s 10 most commonly misused and misunderstood terms and metaphors in the media. I have seen these errors in print and heard them on television, and I’ve heard educated professionals misuse them in formal settings.
And, of course, these mistakes — and many more — proliferate on the Internet. Communications professionals should be aware of these so that they can keep them out of their clients’ mouths.
1.Assuage [a person]. Assuage means to lessen the intensity of, ease or quench. Only feelings and conditions can be assuaged. People can be pacified, mollified or appeased. Hunger, anxiety, fear or loneliness can be assuaged. You can assuage the boss’s anger, but you can never assuage the boss. Try mollifying him instead.
2.Chomp at the bit. The correct term is “champ at the bit.” A bit is normally made of metal or some hard synthetic material, and any horse that chomps on it would pay dearly. Now, horses’ teeth grow throughout their lives, but a horse wouldn’t want to break its teeth on a bit. “To champ” is “to show impatience of delay or restraint,” so horses that are ready to race would champ at the bit until the gates opened and they could run.
3.Hone in. The correct term is home in. To hone means to sharpen, as a knife or ax blade. But to home is to find or return to the source, as a homing pigeon or a homing device, which is used to find the source of an electronic signal. When you home in on something, you zero in on it.
4.Jerry-rigged. The correct term is jury-rigged, which means erected, constructed or arranged in a makeshift fashion. On a sailing ship, a jury-mast is a temporary mast built to replace one that has broken or been carried away. Jury then came to apply to other parts of a ship that people built or arranged for temporary use, such as jury-rigging.
5.Jive. How often have I heard reasonably educated people say that something just doesn’t jive with known facts? They really mean to say jibe, which is to be in accord.
6.Pawn off. The correct term is palm off, which means to pass something by concealment or deception. Imagine a card game in which the dealer conceals a low card in the palm of his hand and then surreptitiously deals it to an unsuspecting player. It doesn’t have anything to do with a pawnshop.
7.Slight of hand. The correct term is sleight of hand. Sleight is related to the word sly and means “deceitful craftiness or dexterity.” If you’ve ever played three-card Monte on a street corner, then you know there’s nothing slight about it.
8.Staunch the flow. The correct phrase is stanch the flow, although dictionaries now accept staunch as a variation of stanch. To stanch means to stem or stop bleeding or leakage.
9.Straight-laced or straightjacket. We really mean strait-laced or straitjacket. Strait means narrow, so anyone who laced their corset tightly would be pretty strait laced — and probably more than a little cranky. A person in a straitjacket certainly would lie straight, but the jacket is characterized by the fact that it restrains the limbs in a very — well — straitlaced way.
10.Take a different tact. The correct phrase is take a different tack. The metaphor comes from sailing. To tack is to change the direction of a sailing vessel by turning the bow into the wind and shifting the sails. It has everything to do with changing tactics, but the metaphor is about sailing tactics, or tacking.
English is a living language, and we don’t have a royal academy to dictate proper usage. Terms change as the culture — people, that is — changes them."
--Gregory Lagana, "Watch your language: Common usage isn’t always correct usage," prsa.org